Newsroom’s Shane Cowlishaw reported yesterday that Wellington City has been talking with central government about either a variant on the Manchester city accord, or a Special Economic Zone.
What would be in the deal isn’t known – the OIA did not provide many details. It noted that Wellington would like a city deal following the UK examples, or a Special Economic Zone to allow different regulatory settings for Wellington, and a revenue-sharing mechanism for the upside gains of any such arrangement. As for the other details, it only noted the potential for a beefed up Urban Development Authority. I’m a skeptic on those as UDAs with expansive powers of compulsory acquisition are dangerous things.
But the rest is interesting; we at the Initiative were happy to see Councils taking this up. Khyaati and I suggested SEZs as a way of achieving devolution and policy trials within the context of a unitary state with Councils of vastly differing capabilities and competence. Our report on localism noted the Manchester model as another way of achieving the same thing.
I talked a bit on the radio yesterday about the proposal. I hope the incoming government is able to progress things with Wellington Council.